Insurance Questions

Can I make a claim for a bike collision if the driver had no insurance?

Yes. If you have car insurance with UIM coverage, you can recover money for your medical bills, lost wages, damage to your bike, and your non-economic damages, even if the other driver had no insurance. There may also be other sources of recovery that an experienced bicycle attorney may find based upon the unique facts of your bike crash.

Does my homeowner’s or renter’s insurance cover accidents when I am on my bike?

It depends. Typically, there would not be coverage in a bike crash unless the crash is determined to be your fault, and, in that situation, it would generally pay for the damages you caused to someone else. But this would depend on the facts of your bike accident and on the terms of your insurance policy.

Does my car insurance cover accidents when I am on my bike?

It depends. If you have PIP coverage on your automobile insurance, it may pay your medical bills from a bike versus car crash. Automobile UIM coverage may cover your medical bills, lost wages, damage to your bike, and your non-economic damages, if the driver had no insurance or not enough insurance to fully compensate you.

What does PIP mean?

PIP is Personal Injury Protection. It provides no-fault coverage for medical bills and limited wage loss. Typically, coverage is a maximum of $10,000, but higher limits are available.

In Washington State, PIP is an optional coverage. However, the insurance company needs to prove you rejected PIP in writing or you are assumed to have it on your automobile insurance. If you are injured on your bike by a person with PIP coverage, the driver's insurance is supposed to pay before your own PIP or health insurance.

What does UIM mean?

UIM stands for Under-Insured Motorist coverage. It pays if the at-fault person has no insurance, or not enough insurance to pay the full amount of your damages.

In Washington State, UIM is an optional coverage, meaning that you don't have to purchase it. UIM is an especially important form of coverage, since the most reckless people who cause the most accidents are also the most likely to be uninsured.

Why is my health insurance refusing to pay my medical bills?

People who are not familiar with bike law are often confused as to who is supposed to pay an injured bicyclist's medical bills. Many doctor's offices refuse to bill the proper insurance company because they don't know that a driver's PIP may also cover bicyclists and pedestrians.

Washington Bike Law has helped resolved billing problems on hundreds of occasions. One of the great things about being represented by an experienced bike lawyer is that you can concentrate on recovering from your injuries knowing that your lawyer will handle your claim.

What is "subrogation"? Or, why is my health insurance or PIP insurer claiming that it should be reimbursed from any settlement or award?

Subrogation claims are often made in the context of bicycle crash injuries when your PIP or health insurance company pays your medical bills and a settlement or award from the at-fault party's insurance company also arguably pays your medical bills.

"Subrogation" is an assertion by your insurance company that you have been paid twice and should reimburse it from any settlement or award for payments it says are related to your bike crash.

Whether you need to pay back an insurance company and the extent to which you would pay it back is a compelling reason to be represented by an experienced bike lawyer. Subrogation law frequently changes and there can be extreme variation between state law and federal law and subrogation law in states other than Washington. Washington Bike Law has resolved hundreds of subrogation claims for bicyclists.

If I make a claim with my own insurance company for PIP or UIM benefits, will my rates go up?

It depends. Generally speaking, if an accident was not your fault, your rates should not increase if you make a claim. On the other hand, if you are at fault for a collision, most insurance companies will raise your rates, even if you do not make a claim.

In Washington State, if your rates increase for any reason, you are entitled to a written explanation from your insurance company.

If you are paying premiums for UIM and/or PIP coverage, you are entitled to use it and, in most instances, you should. If you are concerned about this, the Bicycle Lawyers at Washington Bike Law are happy to discuss your options.